Phil Beard, John Nelson and I started No. 1 tunnel and drove the first hundred feet into the hillside. Later, thousands of tons of coal were hauled out of this entry. I helped dig from the five-foot vein, the first load of coal ever shipped out of the valley,” so said Matson in an Aug. 23, 1928 issue of The Sun newspaper, published at Price."
The high mountain ghost town in extreme northwestern Carbon County, became known as Winter Quarters because John Nelson and Abram Taylor wintered there in 1875 to hold the claim they had filed.
Two years later a group of men from Sanpete County came over the mountain to begin the town and continually work the mine. They intended to leave before winter, but an early snowstorm trapped the men. When their supplies ran out in February 1878, they the walked out to the north, eventually reaching the town of Tucker (now a ghost town and rest stop) in Spanish Fork Canyon.
When the great tonnage of coal in the mountain was known, more people began moving into the burgeoning town. As more and more coal was mined, the need for a railroad became apparent. Some of the residents got together and bought out a dry goods firm in the east and paid railroad workers with clothing and fabrics.
That old railroad bed is now a dirt road leading from the Tucker rest area on US-6 up the mountain onto what is known today as Skyline Drive and then down into Pleasant Valley. The railroad became known as the Calico Line.
May Day, 1900, started out with a clear sun shinning up the valley into the town as 303 miners headed up to the mine portal. This mine was considered one of the safest in the country and had been inspected by Gomer Thomas, state mine inspector, on March 8.
But at 10:15 a.m. everyone in the mountain town felt the ground shake. Some people thought someone had fired off an explosion to celebrate Dewey Day. Soon, the horrible truth spread through the town like wildfire. A giant explosion had occurred in the mine.
Mothers and daughters were seen hurrying toward the mine portal, "faces blanched with fear, hoping against hope that their loved ones in some way had escaped. Soon the realization came that the miners were caught – caught like rats in a trap with no chance of escape,” reported Charles Madsen in his account of the disaster.